A Beethoven Anniversary Year

Run-up to the Anniversary Year
for the Master’s 250th Birthday
17 December 2020

Beethoven: Die Seyfried Papiere

Beethoven: Die Seyfried Papiere. Edited by Jan Hendrik Niemeyer. 2019. 11¾ × 8¼ in (29.7 × 21 cm). 104 pp. With 47 (1 double full-page & 28 full-page) color illustrations. Laminated orig. boards in thread stitching. – Photo brilliant print on 200 g paper. – In German.

ISBN 978-3-74816-746-4 | EUR 49. (c. US$ 59.) + shipping

By completeness and arrangement first-time, slightly reduced rendition with transcription of Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried’s 1831 manuscript sheets for his complete Biographical Notes (on Ludwig van Beethoven) and for the core of his Character Traits and Anecdotes. Where in the 1832 print a passage of the Notes quite centrally regarding the dying Beethoven is completely missing and of the Character Traits one had been amputated on behalf of subordination.

Devided in

Preface for a Colorless Diamond / Manuscripts and Transcriptions / Exposé / Index.

The manuscripts themselves are available for sale as unit.

The Book

The Seyfried Papers go to the core of the meteoric appearance of Beethoven in Vienna. They comprise the review of the man who was related to the master professionally for all his life, and in those early years as the “most wonderful period” (Thayer) additionally spatially most closely indeed: Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, conductor at the decisive stand. “We lived under the same roof, dined together daily, and although I had long venerated this great Master of Sound as a star of the first magnitude on the horizon of music …” And “produced with the … orchestra which I conducted … all these guarantors of immortality I was fortunate enough to be the first to admire”. In the Vienna of Haydn and Mozart outrageous, hitherto never heard sounds. And hardly established there, the newcomer shone in private soirée at the grand piano by his legendary improvising, locking horns with Josef Wölfl, the pianist of degree. Among those present to this wrestling, so still eighty years later Ludwig Nohl, von Seyfried. Who thirty years later would write the choral music for the requiem for Beethoven, too. Certainly he was not the only one experiencing all this. However, he was the only one to write it down. Down to the marginal, the anecdotes. Which pack a punch no less. And provided generations later Horst Seemann with the spice for his so unorthodox film Beethoven – Tage aus einem Leben. What a life, what a flick! With Seyfried as source. Formally only the second of the more exhaustive communications on Ludwig van. Yet by content and as unrivaled on-site witness without a doubt the Number I. Published 1832 as appendix to Beethoven’s Studies in Thorough-bass edited by him posthumously, the compiling of which earned him, as scientifically gone awry, damning reviews. Of which, however, the appendix of the biographical communications was excluded in unison as “authentic fact”, so starting 1853 with Pierson on occasion of the new edition of the Studies. Here now published in Seyfried’s autograph manuscripts. Complete for the Biographical Notes, which are joined by the core of the Character Traits and Anecdotes. And in this entirety, slightly reduced, reproduced here for the first time, along with transcription. Accompanied by introduction, exposé, and index. And the option of purchase.

The Author

Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, as housemate and dining companion most immediate witness of Beethoven’s most creative period and on friendly terms with him until his death, took piano lessons, after studying philosophy and law, with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Leopold Antonín Koželuch, while the famous theorist and teacher of Beethoven, too, court organist and conductor at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Joh. Gg. Albrechtsberger, instructed him in composition. 1797 Emanuel Schikaneder engaged him as conductor at his Freihaus Theater auf der Wieden, which 1801 was merged into the newly built Theater an der Wien, to which latter he then belonged until about 1825/28. 1805/06 he conducted the premieres of Beethoven’s Fidelio (Leonore), likewise the symphonies and concertos as well as the oratorio Christ upon the Mount of Olives. Penned by him finally the choral music for the requiem for Beethoven, too. As composer with 1700 performances ahead by far of Mozart with merely 400 performances, his lasting compositional achievement is foremost seen in his religious compositions. Besides fertile activity as – mostly anonymous – musical writer and with 92 pupils from throughout Europe greatly demanded music teacher. On his demise 1841 the Österreichisches Morgenblatt finally ranked him “within the society of the immortal composers Beethoven and Franz Schubert … ‘In their union he is the third’ …”.

The Editor

Jan Hendrik Niemeyer, Scorpio of 1964, went to sea for some years first before switching into paternal footsteps and learning the trade of an antiquary, establishing himself in 1992 in the field of maritime art in books, drawings, and prints. His musical inclination not the least affected on the side of his father, who at the age of 15 listening for the first time to Beethoven’s Ninth, a transmission from the Leipsic Gewandhaus Orchestra on New Year’s Eve, had turned off the radio abruptly at the beginning of the final chorus, feeling betrayed in his arousal about what he had heard. And later read Nietzsche’s verdict according to which language could “never ever convert the deepest core of music to something external” and opera were a music “incapable of worship”. In short, felt vindicated by the verdict of “the voluptuousness of the art of singing”. And the editor in this regard still goes one step further when declining as improper to listen to the finale to op. 130 pressed upon the master following his Grand Fugue (op. 133) or as incongruous in the context both the two movements following the 3rd movement of op. 132, the late string quartets. Indeed as Nietzsche’s disturbed rhythm of waves. Listening to which the former sailor has not forgotten.


Am Anfang war die Tat! So Faust bei Goethe, nachdem er bei Wort gestockt hatte. Welch letzteres, will es berichtend, rückblickend, gebraucht werden, in der Natur der Sache liegt. Ganz so, wie bei Ignaz von Seyfried als dem Verfasser der formal zwar nur zweiten ausführlicheren Beethoven-Mitteilungen, ihrem inneren Rhytmus nach gleichwohl ersten. Weil unangefochten diktiert vom Pulsschlag des einst Miterlebenden, Mitwirkenden. Denen ein Am Anfang stand die Tatsache vorangeht: des Kapellmeisters – Uraufführungen Fidelio/Leonore inclusive – und Komponisten Seyfried Miteinander mit Beethoven — »Wir herbergten unter einem und demselben Dache, waren tägliche Tischgenossen« — in beider frühen Jahre, als letzterer »in den ersten Jahren seines großen Ruhmes und in der wunderbarsten Zeit seines Schaffens stand« (Thayer).

Jener Aufgalopp, von dem Seyfried somit als Miterleber, nicht Nacherzähler berichtet … more

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